Thursday, May 6, 2010

Frogs’ Legs, Anybody?

Live frogs hanging from the ceiling of a kitchen in a street restaurant in Saigon, Vietnam. Photograph: Christine Kokot/dpa/Corbis

Barack Obama eating frogs' legs. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Here’s something interesting that I picked up in UK’s Guardian (August 07, 2009): Every year, the French nibble away at 4,000 tons of frogs' legs. But that's nothing compared with the vast number being eaten in Asia, South America and even the US – sorry, no statistics given! Jon Henley wrote here that it's pushing the world's frog population towards extinction and that is why we shouldn’t be eating frogs’ legs at all.

Some foodies insist that frogs taste like a cross between fish and chicken. Henley disagrees, and as he had written: “they taste of frog: in other words, precious little bar the sauce they are served in”.

Talking about frogs’ legs – okay-okay, I will stop eating them – here’s another fascinating news that by chance, I also came across today!

Ecologists have discovered evidence that normally herbivorous water voles, which usually only eat plants, have been gorging on their fellow water dwellers and discarding the chewed up remains in neat piles on river banks – which these scientists use to monitor their eating patterns.

It is thought that the furry rodents, immortalized by Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, are eating frogs’ legs to boost their protein intake.

The unprecedented trend has been observed by experts from British Waterways – which is responsible for maintaining the 2,200-mile canal and river network in England, Wales and Scotland – during a survey of the Kennet & Avon Canal in the southern English county of Berkshire.

Robert Randall, who carried out the survey with fellow ecologist Oda Dijksterhuis, said: "We found a number of typical water vole feeding areas that were littered with dead frogs, minus their legs.

As a water vole's diet is normally vegetarian, this rather gruesome scene isn't what we'd expect to find at all.

We're not really sure why it's happening, but as the evidence coincides with the water voles breeding season we think it may be that pregnant mothers are snacking on frogs' leg as they lack protein in their diet.

This is incredibly unusual behavior and as far as we know this is the first recorded evidence we have of them eating frogs' legs, so it's a really exciting discovery” (Webpage, accessed today).

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